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My Experiment in Bleaching my Brows

I coloured my hair last week and went a few shades lighter and had some blonde(ish) highlights put through. I love the lighter look and the warmer tone of my hair but decided that my dark brows needed a bit of lightening up as well. Being a beauty addict, I naturally assumed that a different shade of brow product would get me the look I was after but an hour or two in the makeup department proved me wrong. Turns out my dark brows were too much of a match for any brow product to make a dint so I’d have to lighten them chemically instead.

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I did some research and finally came across this post by Nikki from Curly Nikki and decided to take the plunge. I’ve never used bleach before so I was a bit nervous and kept having visions of me with burned off brows, blonde brows or chemically burned skin! Considering how worried I was, I should have actually taken the time to do the patch test but impatience is one of my flaws. If you decide to try this, definitely do the patch test first because you don’t want any reactions on somewhere as visible as your face.

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I headed off to Priceline and picked up the Julienne Sensitive Creme Bleach Set for Face and Body ($11.99) but not before checking to make sure the store also stocked brow tinting products should the whole experience go horribly wrong. I headed back home with the sales assistant wishing me luck and hoping she didn’t see me back the next day to correct a bleaching fail. The package came with a tub of creme bleach, a container of powder activator and a plastic spatula. The only thing you need is a plastic palette or container to make the mixture up in.

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The process was really easy and just involved mixing one spatula full of creme with 1/2 a spatula full of the powder activator. The only issue I had was that the packaging of the powder activator was poorly made and hard to open so I ended up with it all over the bathroom sink. After mixing the mixture together, it was a just a matter of trying to manoeuvre the mixture on to my brows (which I’d washed with cold water and patted dry first) without getting it on to my skin and eyes.

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I was so terrified of walking away with blond brows that I only left the bleach on for 5 minutes the first time round. This had little to no effect on my brows so I reapplied the mixture for a further 20 minutes while checking the colour every few minutes. I underestimated how thick and dark my brow hairs are so, even with the 25 minutes of bleach, the change is very subtle. The picture above is of my brows pre-bleach and below is post-bleach. If you look carefully you can see that a bit of the weight has been taken out of my brows  and that they’ve gone from a cooler black to a dark warmer toned brown. By the way, I apologise for my unruly brows but I’m favouring a much more natural look at the moment.

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I really love the change in shade but it means that my usual brow products were too dark and cool toned. I swatched three of my usual product on the left and three of my new products on the right so you could better see the change. From left to right- MAC Spiked brow crayon (I usually use Stud but had run out), Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep, Hourglass Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette (this is holy grail stuff!), Maybelline Master Shape in Soft Brown, Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in Medium Brown (loving these Maybelline products!) and MAC Veluxe Brow Liner in Redhead (which in hind sight I shouldn’t have bought).

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You might have been looking at the ‘before and after’ brow photos above and wondered whether there was actually a change or whether I’ve just convinced myself there is so I put together this full face ‘before and after’. My brows have product in them in both photos and I think the difference in shade is much more noticeable here. The change is subtle but I think it definitely softens my face and works better with the tone of my hair. I’m planning on going a little bit lighter when I head back to the hairdresser in a few weeks so don’t be surprised if the brows do too!

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Have you ever lightened your brows? How did your experience go?

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Smokey Eye Look using Stila in the Light palette

I was at my friend’s place the other day flipping through some magazines when I came across a print ad for Wolford. I really liked the smokey eye look she had on (probably because of her gorgeous eyes) and felt the need to try and recreate it. I couldn’t find the exact ad that I saw the look in but it seems to be part of the same range of ads that the picture below is from.

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I used my Stila in the Light palette which I think is much better than the Naked palette. It has a great mix of matte and shimmery shades and the shadow formulas are really lovely and easily blendable. I tried to recreate the look as much as I could and the end result wasn’t exactly the same but I still liked it. I did a step by step guide which, to be honest was pretty time consuming so I probably won’t be making them a regular feature of my posts.

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1. Prime lids with NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base to lid

2. Apply Avon Big Color Eye Pencil in Vanilla to the lid

3. Blend out the base colour

4. Apply a mixture of Bare and Kitten eyeshadow’s (from the Stila palette) to lid

5. Blend out the crease with Bliss eyeshadow

6. Apply Ebony eyeshadow to the top lash line thickening up at outer corner

7. Blend the black out using a clean blending brush and work up into outer corner

8. Darken the crease with Sandstone eyeshadow mixed with a tiny bit of Ebony

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9. Apply Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero to upper lash line

Image 10. is the look so far without concealer and image 11. is with under eye concealer applied.

12. Apply the liner from step 9 to the lower lash line and waterline

13. Take some Ebony eyeshadow on a small brush and blend out the outer half of the lower lash line

14. Apply mascara. I used L’Oreal Voluminous in Carbon Black

15. Apply some Kitten eyeshadow to the inner half of the lower lash line

16. Finish up by doing one final blend with a clean blending brush if required

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I finished up the look by filling in my brows and applying a nude lipstick. From memory, I used Burberry Copper Lip Mist. This is actually a heavier eye look then I’d wear but I quite liked it.

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What do you think of the look?

Sick Day Beauty

I’ve been looking and feeling yuck these last few days as I get over a killer cold so I thought I’d do a post on the products that have been my beauty essentials. My skin when I get sick is always super dehydrated and lacks any radiance. That’s why my beauty theory for those days when I’m not feeling great is to focus on re-hydrating my skin and keeping my makeup in the ‘no makeup’ makeup range. I usually follow the following steps.
1. Extra hydration for those super dry areas. 
Excessive nose blowing means a case of the flaky Rudolph nose! To keep the flakiness at bay, I’ve been applying my Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair around my nose  day and night. This step has really helped keep this area hydrated and relatively flake free!

2. Rich moisturiser for all over
I usually use the Cetaphil moisturiser but, as my skin has been extra dry these last few days, I’ve been reaching for the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre. This moisturiser is perfect as it’s rich without being greasy and you only need a small amount.

3. Hydration for the under eye area
I feel like my under eye area is extra dry when I’m sick so I make sure to include it in my moisturising routine. I’ve been using the StriVectin-SD eye cream mainly for the hydration but any anti aging properties it may give are a bonus!

4. Sheer dewy skin
I don’t like heavy coverage foundations when my skin isn’t at its best and usually reach for something like a tinted moisturiser. It probably doesn’t make sense to use less coverage when my skin is looking its worst but I’ve learned over the years that heavy makeup usually draws attention to what you’re trying to cover. I’ve been reaching for MAC Face & Body the most frequently as it’s water based, moisturising, evens my skin tone perfectly and has a gorgeous dewy finish.

5. Conceal any blemishes
As a sheer base doesn’t do much more than covering uneven skin tone, a good concealer is necessary to cover any blemishes that inevitably pop up. I use MAC Studio Finish concealer with a MAC 224 brush over the worst of my blemishes as it offers good coverage with minimal product. I don’t like to use any eye shadow when I’m going for a ‘no makeup’ makeup look so I also use the studio finish concealer over my lids to even out any discolouration.

6. Under eye concealing
When you’re sick, the lack of sleep coupled with nasal congestion usually leads to fluid build up causing increased darkness under your eyes.  This is nothing that a good concealing routine can’t cover and I have a trio of concealing products which fall into the holy grail category. You can see how often I use them (literally every day) as I’ve hit pan on them!

My routine starts with the Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfecter in Orange/Yellow on the darkest areas, the Balm Time Balm Concealer in mid medium all over my under eye circles and then the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening powder patted on with the Laura Mercier Camouflage powder brush to set the concealer.

7. Setting powder
I always set my foundation and concealer to get rid of any shine and to get the products to last longer. I love my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural for this purpose and I apply it lightly all over my face with a big powder brush. As it’s a mineral based product, this setting powder also adds a bit of radiance to the skin. I also use this product all over my lids to set the concealer there instead of using eyeshadow.

8. Brows and lashes
I always feel like filling in my brows and putting on mascara are especially necessary when I’m skipping eyeshadow and liner. My favourite brow products are MAC Stud brow crayon and MAC Brow Set in Mink. Stud is the perfect shade and texture for filling any gaps while the brow set keeps my crazy brows in place.

I have a big range of mascaras in my collection but I usually reach for something that offers definition rather than volume on ‘no makeup’ makeup days. Lately I’ve been loving the CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara.

9. Blush
I usually have a lot of redness in my cheeks when I’m sick so I try to steer clear of red or pink blushes. Instead I favour something in the orange family and one of my favourite fool proof blushes is NARS Gina blush. I love it because it’s matte but adds warmth to the face and works well on light and dark skin.

10. Moisturised lips
My lips get crazy dry when I’m sick so I usually put away the bright lippies and thick glosses and opt for a lip balm. Some of my favourites are the EOS lip balm Sphere, the Korres Lip Butters and the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors. I have 2 different shades/flavours of each of these products and I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.

I used the steps above when doing my makeup the other day and decided to take a before and after. On the lips I decided to go with the Clarins lip perfector. I remember when I was too shy to show my face on my blog and now I’m showing you my face when sick and minus any makeup, my how times change!

Hopefully you found this post useful in some way!

What are some of your beauty essentials when you’re not feeling your best?

How I Apply Cream Blush (feat Becca Hyacinth cream blush)

I was left a comment on my previous post asking how I apply cream blush so I thought I’d do a post on it. I’m using Becca cream blush in Hyacinth for this post as it’s my favourite cream blush. I highly recommend Becca blushes because they meld perfectly with the skin and leave a really beautiful flush of colour.

Some people like using their fingers to apply cream blush while others like using a brush. My preference is to use a combination of both. I like using a duo fibre brush and the one I use for cream blush is brush #56 by Becca which is called the Small Polishing brush. This brush is Becca’s equivalent of a MAC 188 brush. Sorry for the stained brush hairs! I used the brush before I thought to take photos.

This brush is the perfect size as it fits in the Becca blush compact easily and covers a good amount of the cheek when applying.

Before I apply my cream blush, I prep my face by applying my liquid foundation and under eye concealer. I always set my foundation and under eye concealer with powder but, when I use cream blush, I wait till after applying the blush to set it. This is because cream products work best over bare skin or cream/liquid foundation. I also wait till after applying my cream blush to do any concealing required on my cheeks.

I always smile when I apply my blush because it brings up the apples of my cheeks and makes it easier to apply the blush.

I tap the brush into the cream blush and stipple the blush on to my cheeks so there’s a circle of concentrated colour. I don’t apply the colour to the apples of my cheeks but slightly to the side. This is because I don’t like the colour to be too intense on the apples. I know the picture below looks scary and like I have doll cheeks painted on but that will be gone very soon!

I then use my fingers to blend the majority of the colour back along my cheekbone and towards my hairline . Next I start blending the remaninder of the blush forward on to the apples of my cheek. I use a quick tapping motion with my middle finger to blend my blush rather than using a rubbing motion. This is so the foundation below doesn’t get disturbed too much.

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I don’t bother concealing the blemishes on my cheeks anymore but if I wanted to, this is how I’d do it:

1. Apply some concealer on the back of your hand and then take the tiniest amount of blush on to the back of your hand as well.
2. Mix the two until you get a shade that looks similar to the shade of your cheeks with the blush on.
3.Once you get the perfect shade, dab the concealer on to the spots on your cheek that need concealing using a fine point concealing brush and then blend out the edges. If it turns out that the shade you mixed is too pink, just add more concealer or vice versa.

Once I’m happy with how the colour looks, I set my cheeks with some translucent powder. The end result is a natural flush of colour.

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Was this post helpful? How do you apply your cream blush?

Smokey Green EOTD using Sleek Storm Palette

I know that one of the big makeup no-no’s is matching your makeup with your clothes but rules are made to be broken! That’s why I decided to try out a smokey green look yesterday while wearing a similar coloured cardi.

I used the Sleek Storm Palette (review coming soon) to get this look and I have to say that I LOVE this palette! I bought this and the Urban Decay Naked Palette at the same time and I have been reaching for the Sleek one so much more. The colours in this palette are just beautiful and as soon as I saw the stunning smokey teal colour in this palette, I knew I had to use it in a post!

The colours I used for the look are circled below in red. I only used two lid colours, the teal and gold, and then used the other shades for blending or darkening the crease.

Here are the swatches of the shades. There is a colour swatched next to the black but it’s hard to see as it’s pretty much my skin tone colour and it’s matte which makes it great for blending.

To get the look I used the steps below:

Step 1: Prime lids using Urban Decay Primer Potion

Step 2: Apply MAC Indianwood Paint Pot to the lid. I used this because it’s very neutral on my skin tone but you can use whatever works for you.

Step 3: Apply the gold shade from the Sleek Storm Palette to the inner half of the lid

Step 4: Apply the dark teal shade from the Sleek Storm Palette to the outer third of the lid

Step 5: Slowly start pulling the teal shade over onto the gold so you get a gradient effect. This technique can take a while to learn but it really just requires a light hand and patience.

Step 6: Pick up a mixture of the dark brown matte shade and the black matte shade from the Sleek Storm Palette on a blending brush and apply to the outer v and crease.

Step 7: Use the lightest nude matte shade from the Sleek Storm Palette to blend out any harsh edges.

Step 8: Apply liquid liner. I used the MeMeMe Cosmetics Eye Sweep liner (product sent for consideration).

Step 9: Apply mascara. I used the Avon Supershock mascara which I received free with a magazine.

Step 10: This step is optional but I finished off the look by applying a green liner to my bottom lashline. I used the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On liner in Covet.

On an unrelated note, I went shopping yesterday and I came across these cute studs which came in a pack of 9 different earrings named the ‘Coco’ range (I’m assuming after Coco Chanel). They were from Colette Accessories which is an Australian accessories store which seems to mainly sell costume jewellery and bags.

How adorable are they? There was also a pair of small pearl studs, small diamante studs and a pair of plain gold heart studs included in the pack which I haven’t shown. I have a nickel allergy but these are apparently nickel free so hopefully I can wear them without getting a reaction!

It took me a while to figure out what these were but they’re little perfume bottles 🙂

Get the look: Sultry Seductress (Guest Post)

I was recently given the opportunity to get a how-to post from Katerina Psathas who is a Makeup Artist at Adore Beauty. She has over eight years of experience in the beauty industry, covering areas including film, fashion photography, runway and bridal. You can view her profile here: http://www.adorebeauty.com.au/beauty/Katerina

She’s written up a post on how to get this gorgeous look worn by Freida Pinto. Hope you enjoy it and find it useful because it’s full of some great tips!

Gorgeous crystal clear skin, totally kissable lips and super sexy eyes, what more could a gal want?

Here’s my take on how to achieve Freida Pinto’s look…

Prep work
Gorgeous skin is so much more than a great foundation. A good skincare routine tailored to your skins needs and concerns can make all the difference (I promise!).

Ensure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and moisturised (don’t skip the moisturiser if you have oily skin, simply opt for an oil-free or mattifying moisturiser)

Prime
To get that “my skin is naturally totally flawless” look, apply a silicone based primer to your skin. Don’t be put off by the slippery texture. Silicone based primers are great for filling in any fine lines, pores and imperfections, making your skin the perfect smooth canvas for foundation.

Base
Apply a light to medium coverage foundation (depending on your personal preference) to your skin. Use a foundation stick or concealer to add a little extra coverage where required, eg. Nose cheeks etc.

For a slightly dewy look, try mixing a pea sized amount of liquid illuminator with your foundation before applying or apply a crème/powder highlighter to your cheekbones, brow bones, bridge of your nose and cupids bow for an oh so sultry, natural glow.

Seal your lovely base work with a powder and a large brush.

Eyes
Apply a gold or silver toned cream shadow to your eye lids and along your bottom lash line (you can use your fingers for this step).

Then take a black eye-shadow and apply it to the outer corners of the eye working on in the crease. A bullet or contour brush is perfect for this application. If black frightens you, opt for a charcoal or chocolate brown.

Then take a blender brush and blend, blend, blend! Make sure you don’t go too high up towards the brow bone and that you apply the bulk of the colour to your outer corner crease.

Katerina’s tip: apply a small amount of colour, blend with a good quality blender brush, then take a step back and look at it. Repeat. This way you ensure a beautifully blended eye and you minimise the chance of you applying too much colour too soon. My choice of brushes: BECCA. They have a brush for almost everything and never fail to give professional results. I bought my first BECCA brush over 6 years ago and still use it!

Line the eyes with a black kohl eye liner. If your eye liner tends to run, opt for a gel eye liner which will stay put once it sets. Take a flat eyeliner brush, and “push and wiggle” the eye liner up, essentially creating a smoky look, but still ensuring a bold defined line around the eye.

Apply a light beige or cream eye shadow to the inner corner of your eyes to make them appear wider. (Don’t skip this step, it really makes a difference!)

Lashes
Apply lashings and lashings of mascara and once they are dry, apply a pair of bar false lashes. If you’ve never used false lashes before I highly recommend you give it a go! Practice makes perfect and the results are definitely worth it.

Conceal
Remove any eye shadow particles that may have fallen down under your eyes (tip: use a cotton bud rolled in foundation to pick up the shadow particles) and apply concealer with a brush.

Only use concealer where you need it, which is not necessarily under the entire eye, and make sure you apply it right around to the side of your nose, which is where a lot of our darkness comes from.

Cheeks
Take a rosy coloured blush and apply to the outer corners of your cheek apples and slightly up towards your temples. For a super natural finish, opt for a crème blush.

Lips
Finish off with a nude/rosy high-shine lip gloss to perfect your pout. Voila!

Thanks Katerina! I’m going to try out this look using the steps above and post a FOTD soon.

Also as a side note, the Adore Beauty team is running a survey about beauty addicts spending habits on a budget. The Adore Beauty Budgeting for Beauty Survey asks the tough questions and are asking for your help. The survey finishes on the 10th of October and is 3 questions long witha surprise at the end of the survey. (hint: it may or may not be a discount code 😉  ) Here’s thelink:  http://adorebeauty.wufoo.com/forms/the-adore-beauty-budgeting-for-beauty-survey/